Green Mountain II
When I first hiked up Green Mountain years ago, it was easy to cross the Sheep River, but the flood waters of 2013 took away the bridge near Indian Oils and any chance of keeping your feet dry. Until the bridge is repaired (it's currently being fixed), the only practical option to reach Green Mountain is to ford the Sheep River and hike up Teskey Road. The road runs to Green Mountain trail which accesses the west slope of the mountain.
Having hiked up the west slope using the route described in the Kananaskis Country Trail Guide I knew what to expect, so for the sake of novelty, I tinkered with the Teskey approach: I would ascend the north end of the mountain. This would both shorten the distance to the mountain and lengthen the ridgewalk.
After parking on a side road, I dropped down to the Sheep River. Because of a high bank on the opposite side, I walked upstream a bit before fording the river in hip waders. Once on the south bank, I searched for and found Teskey Road, and followed it to the Sheep trail junction. Turning left, I hiked 700 m before exiting right to cross Dyson Creek. This brought me to the foot of the mountain.
I was soon climbing rock piles among the trees. It was an interesting ascent, certainly more fun than bushwhacking. After climbing 200 m above the creek, I angled right. The terrain here was crappy, being full of loose rock and deadfall, but I needed to get to the grassy slopes on the west side. I was glad when my boots left the rocks and hit the grass.
I hiked along the open slopes towards the top of Green Mountain. Since the ridge crest is forested, I stopped 250 m short of the summit to take a panorama before ducking into the trees. After tagging the uninspiring top, I dropped down the west side of the mountain and climbed a large outcrop called “the Castle.” After looking around, I started down.
Instead of taking Gillean's route and coming down the south end of the Castle, I headed north and aimed for the open slopes ahead. I was surprised, however, when I came across a good animal trail just 350 m from the Castle. I was curious so I followed it down. To my amazement, it ended near Green Mountain trail. This is probably the easiest way to reach the Castle. I caught the trail partway so I don't know if it goes all the way to the Castle, but it must come awfully close. Try it if you're heading up:
On Green Mountain trail, look for a side road on your left at 668103. It appears soon after crossing a creek. The side road is 100 m long and ends in a small campsite. The animal trail begins 50 m northeast from here and almost immediately enters a small clearing (not to be confused with another clearing left of the campsite). The trail, faint at the bottom, gains clarity as it climbs. (In comparison, Gillean's offtrail route up the slope begins nearly a kilometre farther up Green Mountain trail.)
When I hiked Green Mountain in 2002 with its long, dull approach from Indian Oils, it failed to impress me. But doing a loop using Teskey Road gave me a greater appreciation for the mountain. It was also two hours quicker.
Sheep River from the highway where I started down
Sheep River was calf-deep in the morning but knee-deep in the afternoon
Sheep River cuts through a gorge far below the road
After the road climbs, it levels off
Green Mountain fills the view ahead
From Teskey Road I turned onto Sheep trail
After hiking 700 m on Sheep trail, I exited the trail and crossed Dyson Creek
After the creek, I climbed the slope ahead to the rocks on the right
Much of the slope is packed with piles of rocks
Typical climbing up the slope
Looking back at Missinglink Mountain
I was fascinated by the pattern in this dry leaf
A grassy slope awaits on the other side of the ridge ahead
The tree-covered mountain ahead is Mount Hoffman
Looking back at the slope of loose rocks I crossed
On the open west slopes of Green Mountain
I enjoyed my stroll along the ridge
Looking back (click for a larger image)
There was no cairn so I make an X with branches and called it the summit
The ridge continues to Spaulding Point. Beyond the point lies Mount Dyson.
Looking down at the Castle (click for a larger image)
I dropped down for a closer look
Looking back from the Castle
From the Castle, I hiked down the north end and made my way on the open slopes below
Looking back at the Castle
Shortly after taking the previous photo, I came across an animal trail. It appears faint in this
photo, taken near the bottom, but becomes well-defined higher up.
I followed the trail to its start near the campsite
The trail begins 50 m northeast this campsite, through the trees, although you can skirt the
edge of the clearing on the left to reach it
From Green Mountain trail, the side road on the left leads to the campsite (I added flagging)
Looking back at Dyson Falls and the junction of Teskey Road and Green Mountain trail
A last look at Green Mountain
82 J/10 Mount Rae
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